For today’s TedTalk Lunch, I watched two videos sharing two sides to one story. Exploring the innovation of the past century and making predictions about the century ahead these two speeches both make compelling cases. The first talk below assumes the glasses is half empty and there is no way that the 2000s can compete with the innovation and world changing impact of the inventions of the 1900s. The second talk, the glass half full, lays out a more optimistic perspective about the road that lies ahead. It is worthwhile to watch them both and look for the truths that resonate in your own industry, for better or worse.
In the past week, since returning from SXSW, I’ve seen more than a handful of examples of New York City tech and digital personalities opening calling out others in our community in the oh so context-less 140 characters of Twitter. From hate mail for big companies like Foursquare or young companies like Bib+Tuck (who I am an advisor to), the call outs haven’t been constructive for the companies or their founders and make the VCs, PR professionals, and Media types spouting the digital venom look like playground bullies.
Are there conversations to be had about elevating our game? Can we hold the standard high in our community of chip-on-the-shoulder Silicon Alley start-ups? Can we expect more from our fellow entrepreneurs and partners? Yes to all of the above. But, in such a small, by comparison, community of people working in the technology and digital realm, no one is more than one email introduction away.
Success in the NYC digital scene is not a zero sum game that only one company gets to take home the prize. Investments are being made, companies and jobs are being created, and we have a huge cheerleader in the Mayor’s office. The fledgling community is at a turning point that has all kinds of potential just around the next bend, but only if as a community we raise the bar in a constructive and actionable way. There are more than enough wins to go around, let’s go get them together.
“A rising tide carries all ships.” – Warren BuffettTweet
I have been a Simon Sinek fan for awhile, every since his TED Talk (which I blogged about HERE.) And today during lunch, like I do everyday that I don’t have a lunch meeting, I had a Learning Lunch. I usually go to the TED Talks channel, but this time, YouTube suggested another Simon Sinek talk first.
If you only have three minutes, watch the first three minutes when he discuses his purpose in life. But if you want to hear leadership explained in a way that will be immediately implementable in your life, take the 21 minutes to watch the whole thing.
My dog Rocco likes his walks. Some are short, some are long, but anything that involves stretching his legs and taking in the smorgasbord of smells in our neighborhood, he’s in. But, there is one thing that makes gives me pause just about every time: where he marks his territory.
On our normal morning walk, there are some obvious targets for Rocco’s territory marking; trees, planters, the side of the grocery store… etc. But, there is one wrought iron fence half way up our block that he always stops at. Not because it is “valuable” territory to mark, but because it is territory that is frequently marked by all the dogs in the neighborhood. Nothing special about it, just a place that they all think is worth a pit stop.
It got me thinking on the rest of the walk about the territory we all mark in business that we mark because we’ve been told it matters by everyone else but that may or may not hold real value. Number of likes on Facebook or followers on Twitter? A write up in Mashable or a panel invite for SXSW? There is no doubt that other folks are marking that territory, but is it territory that you should be?
This idea is expanded on and even more fleshed out in the book Blue Ocean Strategy: “lasting success comes from creating ‘blue oceans’: untapped new market spaces ripe from growth… companies around the world are skipping the bloody red oceans of rivals and creating their very own blue oceans.” Definitely worth checking out.
Or, as Mark Twain said, “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”Tweet
This week on Forbes I only shared part of the story about increasing time in 2013. I made the bold claim that, if you found one hour each day to be more productive than you were the year before, you could add 365 hours of time to your year. Or said another way, 15.2 days of better living in 2013. (Read it HERE)
Awesome thought right? Who wouldn’t love an extra two weeks to get things done in the new year?
The idea hit me while recovering from jet lag after our Thanksgiving trip to Europe. I was going to be at my usual time (midnight) but waking up an hour earlier than normal (4:45ish) and functioning just fine each day on less sleep than I usually run on. So one morning around 5:15 as I started my 2nd cup of coffee, the thought struck me, what if I slept one hour less everyday for a year? That question led to the math that lead to the Forbes post this week. If I slept one hour less every day in the new year, I would be AWAKE for an additional 15.2 days worth of the year.
So, like I frequently do when I have an epiphany over my early morning coffee before anyone else is awake, I sent myself an email reminder to run the idea past some friends later in the day. When I did, I was met with two reactions:
1) You are freak who doesn’t need sleep, stop judging me. In fact, you are unhealthy for sleeping as little as you do now.
2) That’s cool, but what on earth would I do with all that extra time?
The first reaction was some what in jest, but it was definitely interesting to see how long people sleep being such a hot button issue that my suggestion of GAINING TWO WEEKS OF AWAKE TIME IN THE NEW YEAR set off their defenses.
But the second reaction was actually more concerning to me. Some of the very same people who I’ve heard complain recently of not being as far along on projects or goals as they’d hoped were viewing the sacrifice of sleep as a price too high to pay. Or that whatever they might be able to accomplish in that extra hour wouldn’t be as valuable as an extra hour between the sheets.
This is not a post recommending you sleep 5-6 hours like I do, I know that isn’t for everyone. But I am of the mind to say that it is amazing what you body can do when it is trained to. It is even more amazing to see what your mind can do when it is trained to consider every waking or sleeping hour as part of a much bigger plan. My goals and ambitions stress me out everyday. The “what” and “why” are bigger than what I can see as far as the “how” are concerned. Most nights when I go to bed I am already thinking about what I am going to be working on when I get up the next morning.
Again, this rant isn’t to say that my sleep patterns are to be modeled or are right for anyone other than me. But it is to say that, I hope in the new year, every hour of your day, waking or sleeping, will be considered as far game towards getting you to your goals and the ambitions that you have for the new year and that those goals and ambitions will be big enough that all habits and patterns are open for discussion and modification to optimize your life in the new year.Tweet